So I had mentioned several posts ago, that I was working on a Valentine’s present for my husband. And that I would tell you all about it when I finished.
I finally finished it Sunday, yeah I know, Valentine’s Day was over a month ago. But I ran into a few problems, then life interfered and I had no free time and I completely missed my deadline and then some.
Oh well, no use crying over spilt milk, so on to the good parts.
Most of my projects for my husband involve teddy bears. This time around, I came up with a cute, (admittedly corny, but cute idea). I would dress the teddy bear up in a “bee’s costume” and add the text “Bee my huny” to the image. A perfect concept for Valentine’s Day.
My idea was inspired by a little bear figurine I have, that actually is wearing a “bee” costume. So lucky me, I even had reference material right there at my desk. Now how lucky is that. 😛
I have been working on creating cleaner meshes and to that end, I blocked out the shape of the teddy bear and then used the sculpt tools to tweak and adjust vertices as needed. The sculpt tools can be a huge help in smoothing and moving vertices.
So all in all the modeling stage went pretty smooth, as I have gotten used to the modeling work flow in 2.50. But then again, I generally don’t have a lot of problems when modeling. That has always been my favorite part of any project, and I am always some what sad when the modeling stage is finished.
Mainly because once the modeling is done, most of my problems begin. And you just know there are going to be problems, this is me after all. 😛
And yes, problems arose rather quickly. I had visions of a soft furry bear. Now I am not a wiz at hair/fur, but I can generally get fairly decent results. Well at least I could in versions 2.49 and below. But no matter what I did or how I did it, the fur just wouldn’t do what I wanted. After fighting with it for a couple of days, I decided that fur was highly over-rated. So overrated in fact that I would break with tradition and make a cloth teddy bear instead. Hey its my story, I can tell it anyway I want. 😛
By now I am seriously close to Valentine’s Day, so I hopped on over to the Blender Open Material Repository. There I found a perfect “whool” material by weedkiller. While I was there, I also picked up a few other materials;
- insect wing by bohemix
- Tennis ball (very simple) by hoehrer
The insect wing was of course for the bee wings on teddy costume. And the tennis ball made a nice fuzzy/bumpy fabric for the bee costume itself. The black stripes were painted on a simple UV map in the UV editor.
Okay so now teddy is modeled and textured. But now I need to pose him, the whole T pose doesn’t fit so well with my idea. So on to rigging. You would think that would be easy. I didn’t need a complicated rig, just enough bones to move his arms and legs so he could sit down. But apparently a few things changed in 2.5. I must have deleted that rig half a dozen times at least and then had even more trouble trying to weight paint. Finally in disgust, I ended up selecting groups and adding/deleting vertices manually. Tedious to say the least. But it got the job done. I will investigate rigging in 2.5 and all its new tricks/options another time.
So now I need a setting, my first thought was to just set him on an invisible plane and create shadows under him with a few well placed honey pots. Yeah, that didn’t work either. And I have no idea why. I have done that numerous times and it always worked before. I even went so far as to append a floor plane I knew worked from a previous project. Still no shadows under teddy. I obviously am missing something.
hmmm, time for a new idea… Since this is a “bee bear”, flowers and little honey pots seem to be in order. Oddly enough, that went off without a hitch, go figure.
Okay everything is modeled, textured and positioned. Now all I need is lighting. Generally this part takes me the longest, but this time it actually went fairly quick. But my shadows didn’t seem very dark so I turned on AO, but I must be missing something (the options did change a little in 2.5), because it still didn’t darken the shadows all that much. And or I still just suck at lighting, which is more than highly possible.
Oh well, it’s not like I ever claimed to be a lighting guru, but it did prompt me to try compositing nodes for the first time ever. I had a lot of fun playing with all the options, and even managed to improve my image a little. It still could use some improvement to make it pop a little more, but it is a good effort for my first foray into compositing nodes.
I ended up being fairly happy with the final render. You’d think at this point I would be finished. Yeah, not quite.
See, the rendered teddy was only one part of my project. Back in October, I had found this really cute shadow box frame at the local dollar store. And I wanted to put the rendered image on a scrapbook type layout and then glue it in the shadowbox.
So I imported the image of teddy into Inkscape, where I created a simple scrapbook page layout. After I printed it out and put it in my custom painted shadow box, I further complicated matters by pouring Envirotex (a resin/hardner mix that creates a glassy surface) over the image to seal it in. All that was left was a few embellishments glued to the outside.
So there you have it, one Valentine’s Day gift that was only a month and a half late. Not bad at all for me. 😛